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Advancements in Understanding EM Fields From Cellular Microtubules

This article from the Journal of Theoretical Biology delves into the intricate world of cellular microtubules and their capability to generate high-frequency electric fields and radiation. Microtubules, essential components of the cell’s cytoskeleton, are shown to play a pivotal role beyond their structural and mechanical functions. The authors explore the hypothesis that microtubules, due to their electrical polarity, can efficiently produce oscillating electric fields which may be crucial for cellular organization and intercellular communication.

Through calculations, the study presents insights into the intensity of electric fields and the electromagnetic power radiated from the entire cellular microtubule network. The microtubule’s subunits, tubulin heterodimers, are modeled as elementary electric dipoles. Their mechanical oscillations, modulated in spatial functions, contribute to the overall electric field and electromagnetic radiation profile around the microtubules. This marks a novel approach in understanding the electromagnetic characteristics of cellular microtubule networks, which had not been theoretically analyzed in such depth before.

The findings suggest that traditional macroscopic detection methods are insufficient for measuring cellular electrodynamic activity in the radiofrequency range due to the extremely low radiation rates from single cells. Instead, the study advocates for the development of low-noise nanoscopic detection techniques with high spatial resolution to reliably measure cellular electrodynamic activities.

This research builds on the foundational theories of Fröhlich and others who have postulated the existence of high-frequency electric oscillations in living cells and their potential biological roles. The study’s outcomes not only contribute to the theoretical understanding of cellular electrodynamics but also highlight the need for advanced technological solutions to explore the dynamic electrodynamic behavior of living cells further.

Exploring the Electromagnetic Frontier: Advancements in Understanding Cellular Microtubules

Introduction: This report delves into groundbreaking research presented in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, where a team of scientists led by D. Havelka et al. brings to light the complex electromagnetic behavior of cellular microtubules. The paper titled “High-frequency electric field and radiation characteristics of cellular microtubule network” embarks on an exploratory journey into how microtubules, key structural components of cells, can generate oscillating electric fields, potentially playing a critical role in cellular organization and communication.

Overview of the Study: The research employs a mathematical model to approximate the tubulin heterodimers, the building blocks of microtubules, as elementary electric dipoles. Through this model, the study calculates the electric fields and electromagnetic power radiated by the cellular microtubule network, revealing the intricacies of its electrodynamic activity. It stands as the first theoretical analysis focusing on the electromagnetic radiation and field characteristics of the entire cellular microtubule network, shedding light on a previously unexplored aspect of cellular biology.

Key Findings:

  • Microtubules can efficiently generate oscillating electric fields, which may be essential for intracellular organization and intercellular interactions.
  • The radiated electromagnetic power from single cells is extremely low, challenging the capabilities of macroscopic detection systems.
  • The study underscores the necessity for innovative detection methods, specifically low-noise nanoscopic techniques with high spatial resolution, to measure cellular electrodynamic activity effectively.

Future Directions: Developing Low-Noise Nanoscopic Detection Techniques

Step 1: Identifying Requirements and Challenges:

  • Understanding the precise nature of the electromagnetic fields generated by microtubules, including their frequency range and intensity.
  • Overcoming the technical limitations of current detection technologies that fail to capture the low-power electromagnetic radiation from cells.

Step 2: Innovating Detection Methodologies:

  • Research and development of nanoscale sensors capable of detecting extremely low levels of electromagnetic radiation.
  • Integration of advanced materials with high electromagnetic sensitivity and low noise characteristics.

Step 3: Enhancing Spatial Resolution:

  • Utilizing cutting-edge nanofabrication techniques to create sensors with spatial resolutions capable of discerning cellular and subcellular structures.
  • Developing computational models to accurately interpret data from these high-resolution sensors, considering the complex spatial distribution of electric intensity generated by microtubule networks.

Step 4: Experimental Validation:

  • Designing controlled experiments to test the sensitivity and accuracy of the newly developed nanoscopic detection systems.
  • Calibration against known standards to ensure reliability and reproducibility of measurements.

Step 5: Application and Further Research:

  • Applying these advanced detection systems in various biological research areas to explore the role of electrodynamic activity in cellular functions, disease states, and intercellular communication.
  • Encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration among biologists, physicists, and engineers to further refine the technology and expand its applications.

Conclusion: The study by Havelka et al. marks a significant milestone in our understanding of cellular microtubules’ electromagnetic properties. However, it also highlights the urgent need for advancements in detection technology to unravel the mysteries of cellular electrodynamic activities. The proposed steps towards developing low-noise nanoscopic detection techniques represent a blueprint for future research that could revolutionize our approach to cellular biology and medical diagnostics.


Biophysical aspects of cancer–electromagnetic mechanism


Hypothesis of coherent vibration states in biological systems based on nonlinear interaction between longitudinal elastic and electric polarization fields with metabolic energy supply was formulated by Frohlich. Conditions for excitation of coherent states and generation of electromagnetic fields are satisfied in microtubules which form electrical polar structures. Numerical models are used for analysis of Frohlich’s vibration states in cells. Reduction of activity and of energy production in mitochondria, and disintegration of cytoskeleton structures by phosphorylation on the pathway of cancer trasformation can diminish excitation of the Frohlich’s vibration states and of the generated electromagnetic field, which results in disturbances of the interaction forces between cells. Interaction forces between cancer cells may be smaller than interaction forces between healthy cells and cancer cells as follows from numerical models. Mechanism of malignity, i.e. local invasion, detachment of cancer cells, and metastasis, is assumed to depend on the electromagnetic field.


Did you know

Yeast cells have microtubules. Microtubules are a key component of the cytoskeleton in all eukaryotic cells, including yeast. In yeast, microtubules play critical roles in cell division, intracellular transport, and cell shape maintenance. There are two main types of microtubules in yeast cells:

  1. Spindle Microtubules: These are involved in chromosome separation during cell division. They form the mitotic spindle, which is essential for segregating chromosomes into the daughter cells during mitosis.
  2. Cytoplasmic Microtubules: These extend from the spindle pole body (the yeast equivalent of the centrosome in animal cells) into the cytoplasm. They are involved in positioning the nucleus and organelles within the cell and play a role in determining cell polarity, which is important for processes like budding in yeast.

Yeast, especially the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been extensively used as a model organism in cell biology to study the functions and dynamics of microtubules and other components of the cytoskeleton.

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